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J Hypertens. 1994 Feb;12(2):179-90.

Sympathetic activity and presynaptic adrenoceptor function in patients with longstanding essential hypertension.

Author information

1
Department of Nephrology, University Hospital Leiden, The Netherlands.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the contribution of the sympathetic nervous system to the hypertension in patients with longstanding essential hypertension.

DESIGN:

Overall sympathetic function, presynaptic adrenoceptors and neuronal re-uptake were examined after withdrawal of medication for at least 3 weeks in eight patients with longstanding essential hypertension and in eight carefully matched normotensive control subjects.

METHODS:

Minimal forearm vascular resistance after 10 min ischaemia was used as a measure of structural vascular changes. Overall sympathetic tone was assessed using tilt testing and pressor dose infusion of noradrenaline. The presence and function of presynaptic adrenoceptors and the neuronal re-uptake of noradrenaline were evaluated in the forearm using tracer noradrenaline kinetics with measurement of forearm noradrenaline plasma appearance rate and noradrenaline plasma spillover. Intra-arterial infusions of tritiated noradrenaline, the endogenous alpha- and beta-adrenoceptor agonist adrenaline, the alpha-adrenoceptor blocker phentolamine, the non-adrenergic vasodilator sodium nitroprusside and the neuronal re-uptake inhibitor desipramine were given in the forearm.

RESULTS:

We found that the hypertensives had higher minimal forearm vascular resistance, indicating structural vascular changes; decreased overall sympathetic activity, indicated by a lower basal whole-body noradrenaline production rate; enhanced vasopressor sensitivity for exogenously administered noradrenaline with decreased arterial baroreflex sensitivity; indications of decreased forearm neuronal re-uptake; evidence consistent with the presence of presynaptic, release-facilitating beta-adrenoceptors in the forearm, apparently not functionally different between the two groups; and undecisive evidence for the presence of functional presynaptic alpha-adrenoceptors in the forearm.

CONCLUSIONS:

In patients with longstanding essential hypertension we found decreased overall sympathetic activity, with indications of decreased forearm neuronal re-uptake, which might have a compensatory role. We found indications of structural vascular changes and diminished baroreflex sensitivity in the hypertensives, which contribute to the hypertension. However, peripheral presynaptic, release-facilitating beta-adrenoceptors seem to be present, which are functionally not clearly different between the two groups. Observations on peripheral presynaptic alpha-adrenoceptors were inconclusive.

PMID:
8021470
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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